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Iran Vows to Lift Border Restrictions with Kurdistan 'in Days'

Iran Vows to Lift Border Restrictions with Kurdistan 'in Days'

Tuesday, 31 October, 2017 - 06:45
Iranian Chief of Staff General Mohammed Baqeri. (Reuters)

Iranian Chief of Staff General Mohammed Baqeri announced on Monday that Tehran will remove border restrictions with Iraqi Kurdistan “within days” after they were closed in wake of the Kurdish independence referendum in late September.

Tehran already re-opened the Bashmagh crossing last week.

Baqeri warned that if Kurdistan implemented its plan to break away from Iraq, “there would be bloodshed in Iraq and neighboring countries would be affected”, reported Reuters.

The Iranian announcement comes a day after Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani said he would give up his position as president on November 1, after the referendum he championed backfired and triggered military action by the Baghdad.

After the vote, Iraqi troops were ordered by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to take control of areas claimed by both Baghdad and the Kurdish government.

Iran, which has its own Kurdish minority, opposes Kurdistan’s independence from Iraq. At the request of Baghdad, Tehran closed its borders with the Kurdish region in northern Iraq and halted all flights there and back.

Abadi wants to take control of the border crossings between the Kurdish region and Turkey, Iran and Syria, including one through which an oil export pipeline crosses into Turkey.

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